Delegations from seven cities across three states have been selected to attend the 2015 Community Progress Leadership Institute (CPLI), a training program focused on equipping leaders with the skills to address large inventories of blighted and vacant properties for the benefit of their communities.
The cities that will be sending delegations of up to six people to CPLI are:
• Brockton, Mass.
• Fitchburg, Mass.
• Lawrence, Mass.
• Kansas City, Mo.
• St. Louis, Mo.
• Greensboro, N.C.
• High Point, N.C.
The selected cities range in population from just over 40,000 to nearly half a million and have citywide housing vacancy rates of 6-19% and high rates of abandonment. These cities were selected for CPLI because they demonstrate strong leadership and a commitment to developing new solutions for vacant, abandoned, and other problem properties.
Community Progress Leadership Institute sessions will address how to prevent blight and vacancy and how to return vacant buildings and land to productive use. In addition, Cambridge Leadership Associates, an international leadership development practice, will conduct workshops exploring adaptive leadership.
“The Community Progress Leadership Institute is a special opportunity for local leaders to build new skills and knowledge,” said Tamar Shapiro, president and CEO of the Center for Community Progress. “Perhaps even more importantly, it’s a chance for each delegation to work together to develop new ideas and partnerships that could transform their community’s fight against blighted properties.
CPLI will be held on the campus of Harvard Law School on March 17-20, 2015. 2015 marks the fourth time Community Progress has brought together a Community Progress Leadership Institute class since 2010.
“As a Gateway City addressing ‘Vacant and Abandoned’ housing, we continue to be aggressively proactive via code enforcement; working with banks through our distressed property identification revitalization (DPIR) program, and the Mayor’s Neighborhood Stabilization Advisor Group,” said Mayor Bill Carpenter of Brockton, Mass. “We all understand the destabilizing and negative impact vacant and abandoned properties can have on a community. This is a great opportunity to discuss and share best practices in addressing the issue.”
“Fitchburg, like many other gateway cities, has experienced high levels of abandonment and blight in recent years,” said Liz Murphy, interim director of housing and development at the City of Fitchburg. “As the problem lingers and creates other related problems our residents look to their municipal government to find solutions. Fitchburg is honored to be selected by the Center for Community Progress to participate in the CPLI program and looks forward to working collaboratively with colleagues from around the country to find practical solutions to this very complex problem.”
“Problem properties affect more than just the look of a neighborhood, they affect our tax revenues, economic development strategies, and the overall health of our community,” said Mayor Dan Rivera of Lawrence, Mass. “The CPLI is a great opportunity to fine tune our strategies by learning from experts and sharing experiences with the other participating municipalities in the unique team building environment created by the Center for Community Progress.”
Kansas City, Mo.
“The Community Progress Leadership Institute presents a great opportunity for Kansas City to share with and learn from leaders working to reclaim vacant properties,” said Ted Anderson, executive director of the Kansas City Land Bank in Kansas City, Mo. “We hope to bring back new ideas to help accelerate the revitalization of our urban core neighborhoods. Our goal is to attract new residents and businesses by making it easier to buy and rehabilitate vacant properties.”
St. Louis, Mo.
“St. Louis is honored to attend and share the experiences of our Land Reutilization Authority as the nation’s first urban land bank,” said Mayor Francis Slay of St. Louis, Mo. “Our team looks forward to learning best practices and opportunities that might help St. Louis better repurpose vacant land in the City of St. Louis.”
“On behalf of the City of Greensboro, I am proud and honored that we are part of this institute,” said Mayor Nancy Vaughn of Greensboro, N.C. “I am also very grateful for all the Center for Community Progress does for cities like ours,” she said. “We look forward to hearing what our folks take away from the program, sharing that information with our decision-makers, and using that knowledge to increase the vitality in our neighborhoods.”
High Point, N.C.
“We are excited to take part in a discussion with leaders from around the country to consider ideas on creative ways to enhance our city and improve our residents’ quality of life,” said Mayor Willian S. Bencini of the City of High Point, N.C. “Like many communities, the City of High Point has its challenges with blighted and vacant properties. We are hopeful that we can incorporate many of the ideas from the Community Progress Leadership Institute into our long term plans for city revitalization.”